A group of hackers calling themselves “fail0verflow” have announced during a presentation at Chaos Communications Conference that they have been able to decipher the private key that Sony uses to authorize code to run on PlayStation 3 systems. With this private key, it is now possible to run code as if it were authorized by Sony.
Access to the PS3’s private key opens a number of options, such as the ability to run Linux on all PS3 models, for example, no matter what version of firmware the unit is running without a USB device. The hackers claim that the private key gives them full control of the system and the ability to run any code desired; and while the hackers claim that the goal was not to find an avenue for game piracy, the discovery could actually be used for this purpose.
The group plans a demo at the conference later today where they will explain more about the discovery. This is the same group that also is apparently responsible for the Wii Homebrew Channel. Little is actually known about how the hackers were able to decipher and obtain the key, but expect to hear more about it once they launch their upcoming website.
While Sony has yet to respond publicly (and we suspect that they are unlikely to do so) they can’t be happy about this development if it turns out to be true. Until all of the facts are in, we are not sure what to think, but the news could send a serious shockwave through the PS3 community should the private key turn out to be authentic, and Sony does not have a plan to revoke or deal with this type of an issue. We will have to wait and see how this plays out, but we suspect that this could be one of the most interesting stories to come out of 2010.